Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Daring to do it: Cornmeal

When I saw the heading for this month's Daring Cooks challenge, I have to admit I was a little wary.  Were we supposed to grind our own corn?  What was interesting about a cornmeal challenge?  Luckily, Rachael was our host, and she was well prepared for just that sort of question...

Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!

Rachael provided us with some absolutely amazing ideas for recipes using cornmeal.  She really made me realize that I was pretty much ignoring a kitchen staple which I had in my kitchen just to dust under breads and pizzas.  While I didn't use any of her recipes, her inspiration, guidance and support were inspiring.  I wanted to make so many dishes, but sadly only made two...
My first was "fried" green tomatoes and squash.  But baked, not fried.
The breading - cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper:

The breading station - veggies, eggs and breading:
 The finished product:
This was good.  Not as good as I had hoped, but I think that is because I was not very generous with the seasonings.  Lesson learned for next time.Next I made something which I had been curious about for a long time - polenta.  Also known as cornmeal mush.  But polenta sounds fancier, so let's go with that.  I also decided to go with fried polenta, since I knew that was something I had never done.
One part cornmeal (seasoned with salt and pepper) stirred into three parts boiling water:
Cooked polenta formed into a well sprayed dish to set:
 Cut up and ready to fry:
 Crisping up nicely in the pan:

Up close.  Yum:
 "Dressed" with sauteed veggies and tofu:
If the "fried" great tomatoes were only ok, this fried polenta was amazing.  I really liked it!  In fact, I am so excited to add it to my regular rotation.  It had great texture, great flavor, and can be seasoned and paired in so many ways!  Loved it!
Thank you, Rachael, for making us take a closer look at an ingredients which I had sadly taken for granted!  It was so much fun to play an learn with you!
If you want to see what amazing dishes were created with such a "simple" ingredient, take a look here!


  1. My stomach sunk at the thought of grinding my own corn - I am glad we didn't have to go there!
    I have leftover polenta in my fridge - I am going to have to try frying it up.

  2. I have tried doing fried green tomatoes before but baked and mine were a flop, your's look so good! I must try them again. As for the polenta, that one too has now entered my family meal rotation! Don't you just love it. I will have to try frying it next.

  3. Very interesting Dish. Cant wait to try the green tomatoes. :)

  4. Awesome job!!!!!! I have only had fried green tomatoes once and they really grew on me! The polenta is great, too! Maybe my family will eat it if I make them into cute little sticks!

  5. Well done! Those are 2 of my favorite ways to eat cornmeal, but I'm finding so many new ones with this challenge.

  6. I had the same experience when I tried Fried Green Tomatoes. Probably it was the recipe. Couldn't be me. ha ha. Good job on the challenge.

  7. I am going searching for green tomatoes this week - yours look great and I just have to try them now! :)